Thomas Rogers, Catalina Reichard Win At SJA Invite!


The last time Ruston's Thomas Rogers ran at Baton Rouge's Highland Road Park was two years ago during his sophomore year. It was a forgettable experience, to say the least.

Not only was the course covered in mud, but he had a case a food poisoning the night before.

Rogers, running in Louisiana for the first time this year, was able to get that bad taste out of his mouth by winning the St. Joseph's Academy Cross Country Invitational with a state-leading time of 14:57. Finishing right behind Rogers was his sophomore teammate Taylor Roller.

Ruston won the team title with a score of 46 points. Parkway, led by freshman Brennan Robin's fourth place 15:24, finished as the runner-up. 

"It was good," Rogers said of his race. "I got out from the start and held on."It was good to come back here my senior year and have a good time." 

With their late September time check behind them, Rogers and his Bearcats look to continue their preparation for the 2023 LHSAA State Cross Country State Championship, which is only six weeks away.

 "Obviously, focusing on state and doing well there both individually for me and as a team, too," Rogers said of his goals.

It's the third meet in the three states for the Bearcats, who opened their season at The Opener in Clinton, Mississippi before running last weekend in Dallas. 

Rogers opened with a third place 16:06 5K at The Opener. He dropped to 15:15 over the same distance in Texas at the Southlake #2 Invite. The time was good enough for a sixth place finish. Saturday's 14:57 was Rogers first race over the three-mile distance. 

"It's nice to come down here and show them what North Louisiana can do," Rogers said.

For Rogers' coach, Ruston head coach Dustin Cochran, the trip to Highland Road Park gives him a good measuring stick for how his runners are doing compared to other runners in the state. 

"At some point in the year, everybody is going to run at Highland," Cochran said. "So, you kind of know where you stand and what you have to look forward to at the end. We've got to come once a year." 

Mt. Carmel's Catalina Reichard continued her winning ways by taking top honors in the girls' division. Reichard ran a personal record 17:23, twenty seconds faster than Baton Rouge High's sophomore Lucy Thomas'17:43. 

"The goal was to go out a little faster cause usually I'm struggling to get there," Reichard said. "I definitely accomplished that. My first mile was probably my best." 

The host Stickers, led by Grace Rennhoff's 17:49, dominated the girls' division with 26 points. All five of St. Joseph Academy's scoring runners-which included Elise Brown, Michelle Daigle, Hannah Vaughan, and Kaitlyn Francise-finished among top ten among scoring runners. 

Mount Carmel finished second with 106 points.